Give the Highlands more seats in Parliament, says Fergus Ewing

The backbencher has long argued that rural communities are being overlooked in a Scottish Parliament dominated by the densely populated Central Belt.

Highland politicians say the distances they have to travel make it difficult for them to serve their constituents well.

registered mail The times, Mr Ewing is proposing to increase the number of seats in the Highland Council district from three to four in the current round of boundary changes.

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He said: “If only the seats of the towns were reduced, a fourth could be created in the Highlands.”


He said the constituency of his colleague Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, was more than 500 times the size of the average Glasgow seat.

His call was backed by other MPs concerned about the size of Westminster constituencies in the Scottish Highlands. These will increase with separate boundary changes.

Ian Blackford, MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, said: “My current constituency is 12,000 square kilometers which, in context, is roughly the size of Northern Ireland.”

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“A big part of the job is meeting people, and from a practical point of view that’s extremely difficult.”

“I had to have surgery in 32 different places.

“It’s important that people are properly represented and I just don’t think that’s possible given the size of these constituencies.”

“I think people are disadvantaged,” he added.

Mr Blackford says the area should be treated in the same way as the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland. The Western Isles’ electorate is less than a third the size of Mr Ewing’s in Inverness and Nairn.

Jamie Stone, Liberal Democrat MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, agreed.

He said: “With the best will in the world you can’t really cover an area as large as mine or Ian’s.”

“This needs to be reconsidered because it’s getting downright ridiculous.”

A third of Holyrood’s seats are to be reallocated and renamed as part of border changes, which would remove Eastwood, near Glasgow, from the electoral map.

While Humza Yousaf’s constituency in Glasgow appears more winable under the plans for the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon’s neighboring seat would be radically redesigned to sit on the River Clyde.

In the first such review in 15 years, Boundaries Scotland is proposing to change the shape and name of 25 of Holyrood’s 73 seats for the 2026 election.

Of the remainder, 21 are entirely unchanged, including the island’s three constituencies, and 26 retain their names but undergo “relatively little change” in form.

One seat, North East Fife, retains its boundaries but changes its name to Fife North East to distinguish it from the equivalent seat in Westminster.

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Roughly equivalent to East Renfrewshire Council, Eastwood will be dissolved with its northern suburbs – Clarkston, Busby, Giffnock and Thornliebank – added to parts of Glasgow Cathcart and Glasgow Pollok to become Glasgow Priesthill & Giffnock.

To the south Newton Mearns and Eaglesham lie alongside Barrhead, Neilston, Kilbarchan and Lochwinnoch in Renfrewshire South.

North of the Clyde Strathkelvin & Bearsden disappears, with Bearsden becoming part of a new seat at Bearsden, Milngavie & Clydebank North and most of the remainder passing to a new seat at Kirkintilloch & Kilsyth.

The largest seat would still be Caithness, Sutherland and Ross at 12,792 square km, while Edinburgh Northern & Leith would be the smallest at 13 square km.

The proposals are now going through an initial month-long consultation, followed by subsequent discussions, including local inquiries, with at least 100 local voters objecting.

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